29 May 2009

Paavoharju - Laulu Laakson Kukista

Somewhere between evolution and creationism sit the Finnish who simply invented themselves. They're normal humans but in their own style. This is no secret, everyone can get the documentation and information from the Finnish government. With one drawback: it's in their own language so nobody but the Finnish has been able to understand it so far. And right on the very same drawing boards that the Finns used to design themselves, Paavoharju wrote their second album. It's normal music but in their own style. This too is available to the rest of the world but with the same drawback: it's in Finnish so you won't be able to understand it.

I know I'll never make a living as a comedian but it's sometimes hard to find an opening for a post. Sorry. Seriously then: Paavoharju doesn't play different music but manages to be different nevertheless. It's in the way their music is assembled and treated, as if you're listening to a broken down radio which plays different stations at once and loses clear reception sometimes. Every thing's familiar and strange at the same time. But, and this is critical, it's never alarmingly weird or ugly, never unnatural or experimental. The best analogy I can think of is that it sounds like a dream in a way that dreams can make sense when you're dreaming but not anymore when you wake up.

Laulu Laakson Kukista therefore is the same as Yhä Hämärää and its style is immediately recognizable as Paavoharju's. Differences perhaps in very small details, hardly worth mentioning. 'Laula' is at some points a bit more brazen in its sounds and somehow I noticed the male vocals more. That last aspect needs clarification: the female vocals fit in the instrumentation, the male vocals stand out as singing. And with the singing you get lyrics and you may start to wonder what they're singing about, which is a difficult affair since it's in Finnish. To be honest, I like the music so much that I'm afraid to know what the music is about. I can't conceive of a meaning that wouldn't devalue the listening experience for me so I'm perfectly happy not understanding what the music's about, even not knowing it's about something at all.

Package and artwork: equally beautiful and incomprehensible as the music and the first album.
Fonal, 2008

Paavoharju - Laulu Laakson Kukista
(I apologize in advance if certain tags turn out illegible: 1. it's Finnish so of course you can't read it but more troubling 2. there are apparently conflicting sets of UTF-8, at least my ripper speaks a different dialect than my player.